How Not to Take the Lord’s Name in Vain in an Election Year

Here’s an evergreen commandment—“Don’t take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” (Ex. 20:7) It’s one of the top 10 from Sinai and it’s most often invoked when someone believes they have breached it—say when they let a juicy God-based epithet fly in front of the preacher. How many times have I been […]

Of Mice and Migration: The Luminous World of Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom

This review originally appeared on The Englewood Review of Books and is republished with permission. The experiments that Gifty, a Stanford PhD candidate, conducts have the illusion of being about control. A pioneer in the field of optogenetics, the young Ghanaian-American researcher is using illuminated neural pathways to understand the brains of mice—particularly brains with […]

Leaving Nebraska: Revisiting Willa Cather in the Pandemic

Willa Cather can make you believe that Nebraska is a little more idyllic than your particular piece of America. Prairie flowers bloom near fields of waving wheat. Sturdy immigrant farmers build sturdy farmhouses and some residents install hammocks on the upper porch to sleep out under the stars on summer evenings. Even the fierce winter […]

The Enduring Myth of the Texas Rangers

While the Washington football team and the Cleveland baseball team were both undergoing public struggles about the appropriateness of their nicknames, my own favorite baseball team, the Texas Rangers,was called out by several national columnistsfor a similar soul-searching. Theodore Roosevelt, (yes, THAT Teddy Roosevelt) made the case for both sides back before there was even […]